Currently touring the world in support of their 2017 release ‘ Crooked Teeth’, Papa Roach loaded their guns for a kick ass night of rock and roll at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York. Joining them in a supporting role were Nothing More and Escape The Fate, and judging by the huge line up at doors time, I wasn’t the only one looking forward to this show. I’d never visited this venue before, and was pleasantly surprised to enter a large, open venue featuring a large stage and plenty of room for all.
Escape the Fate, out of Las Vegas, have had a busy year so far. Their recent album release, ‘I Am Human’ was released on March 30th, and they’re already enjoying a steady rotation on Sirius XM Octane, featuring singles from this release. They wasted no time, hitting the stage hard to the delight of the already near capacity crowd. Robert Ortiz on drums, was a joy to watch as he found time to twirl and throw his sticks without missing a beat, as well as interacting with poses and facial expressions to the fans lucky enough to be up front. Vocalist Craig Mabbitt crisscrossed back and forth across the stage, clearly having a great time with band mates TJ Bell ( rhythm guitar ), Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft ( lead guitar ) and touring musician Erik Jensen on bass. Although their time was short, as the opener, Escape The Fate performed a great set featuring “Broken Heart”, their current hit single as well as “I Am Human” from the new album as well as some past favorites including “Do You Love Me”, “Gorgeous Nightmare”, and “Remember Every Scar”. Be sure to grab their new album in stores, or from your digital service of choice.
Nothing More, out of Texas, have had a whirlwind of success in recent years, including a song featured on the recent Planet of The Apes movie soundtrack , as well as being used as a Pay Per View promo song by the UFC, not to mention Grammy nominations in every rock category, a first for any band as far as I know. After completing a headlining tour through the Fall, to support ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’, and a voyage on Shiprocked, Nothing More is now direct support for Papa Roach, to be followed by a European tour, as well as a tour with Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin. Even with this busy tour schedule, the guys still find time to design and fabricate their own stage props as well, which is pretty remarkable.
A buzz filled the room as the lights dimmed and the crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of Nothing More. Opening with “Christ Copyright”, singer Jonny Hawkins was a blur as he ran across the stage and started pounding on two big metal floor toms ( one of their own creations ), in his usual fashion. Helping keep the rhythm were Ben Anderson on drums, and Daniel Oliver on bass, along with Mark Vollelunga on guitar. It’s apparent that these boys have been spending a lot of time on stages together in recent times, as every performance I am lucky enough to catch is better and tighter than the last. While Daniel and Mark generally stick to their own sides of the stage, Jonny is the opposite, as he is in constant motion all over the stage, barely stopping to talk between songs, or even catch his breath for that matter. As “Christ Copyright” ended, the new album was represented with three hard hitting tracks, “Do You Really Want It?”, “Don’t Stop”, and first single “Go To War”, followed by two songs with a far more personal connection. “Fade In/Fade Out”, a slow ballad written for Mark’s father as well “Jenny” written for Jonny’s sister, slowed things down, giving the band a chance to catch their breath a little, as well as letting the crowd get involved in a sing along. Jonny picked up the pace once again, with some older hits including “This Is The Time (Ballast)” and “Salem (Burn The Witch)”, as well as a ride on the Scorpion Tail, a new creation that was unveiled during their previous headlining tour. As usual, these lads from Texas were on point and delivered nothing less than a stellar performance. If you haven’t already, be sure to grab ‘The Stories We Tell Ourselves’ wherever you buy your music, and be sure to see Nothing More whenever they are in your area, as you will definitely not be disappointed.
The curtain dropped, and 25 year veterans Papa Roach showed us all that they still mean business, taking charge of the room. Currently embarked on a world tour to support ‘Crooked Teeth’, these Californians have had remarkable success over the years, with countless tours and stops at all major festivals along the way. Singer Jacoby Shaddix, always a ball of frantic energy, lead the appreciative audience on a musical journey through most of the band’s extensive catalogue, starting things off with the title track of the newest album, ‘Crooked Teeth’. As band mates Tony Palermo ( drums ), Jerry Horton ( lead guitar ), and Tobin Esperance (bass), held down their respective duties, Jacoby jumped from riser to riser, interacting with the crowd. Following “Crooked Teeth”, older favorites “…To Be Loved”, “Getting Away With Murder”, and “Still Swingin’” had the crowd hopping and singing along with reckless abandon, This continued throughout the entire set, which included other favorites such as “American Dreams”, “Gravity”, “Broken Home”, “Falling Apart”, and “Last Resort”.
It is apparent to all in attendance, that Jacoby and the rest of the band are showing no signs of slowing down, and even after 25 years, all seem to be just as excited and fired up to be doing what they do on stage, performing for fans new and old. On this night in Rochester, it was proven that rock and roll is most certainly not dead , and I highly recommend that you see this for yourself at an upcoming stop in your area.